Saturday, November 18, 2017
News Roundup

St. Petersburg parks get influx of improvements

RECOMMENDED READING


ST. PETERSBURG — Neighborhood children are again enjoying the Meadowlawn playground that vandals destroyed by fire early one morning last spring.

The cost to repair the small playground on the banks of Viking Lake, at 14th Street between 73rd 75th avenues N, totaled thousands of dollars.

Neighborhood leaders had been worried that with the city's tight budget, the popular play area would remain in disrepair.

The $48,767 for the unexpected project was, however, squeezed from Penny for Pinellas funds, which also are being drawn on to upgrade more than a dozen parks across the city.

"The lion's share of the money comes from the Penny fund," said leisure and community services administrator Clarence Scott. "The Penny has been absolutely critical to the city's ability to construct, modify and rehab its parks and recreation facilities."

This year and next, St. Petersburg's parks system will benefit from several million dollars in upgrades. Work will include a new addition to the Lake Vista Recreation Center and an unbroken trail around Mirror Lake. The city's historic shuffleboard facility will also get an upgrade when its standalone comfort station with bathrooms from the 1930s are modernized. The ballroom will get ADA bathrooms.

A teen room will be built at Gladden Park. There are no plans for additional parking at this time, city architect Raul Quintana said, since the new teen facility will not be bringing in additional programs.

Other park improvements include Bay Beach, where renovations are planned for existing bathrooms and a new ADA bathroom is being built. Work has already begun on Northwest Park's new bath house. Childs Park will get a nature trail around its lake and a boardwalk.

A new park is being created at the site of the recently demolished Rio Vista Elementary School. Grandview, Coffee Pot, Crisp, Bay Vista, Demens and Lake Maggiore parks are all getting new boat ramps partially funded with Florida Boating Improvement Program grants. The boat ramps at Maximo are complete, with work continuing on parking.

Meadowlawn's rebuilt playground was dedicated in December.

"It's just a good gathering spot for the neighborhood. They definitely wanted to see the playground replaced," said council member Jim Kennedy, in whose district the park lies.

"There was involvement, not from only the neighborhood association, but a variety of kids in the neighborhood as to what elements the playground should include, what colors it wound up to be."

The city had initially estimated that it would cost about $80,000 to replace the damaged playground, which had been renovated about a year before it was destroyed.

Costs were reduced because the swing sets had not been damaged and only needed to be painted, said Parks and Recreations director Sherry McBee.

Additionally, she said, "We kept the same footprint. That kept the costs down. . . . We were able to do it from some of the repair money for playgrounds."

Isaac Garner, who lives across the street from the park, is pleased that his children's playground has been restored.

"Everybody is back there playing again and I just hope that it doesn't get vandalized. They added a light, which is good, so you can kind of see if someone is over there when they shouldn't be."

Police are still investigating the May 2012 fire. Spokesman Mike Puetz said detectives have suspects, but not enough to file criminal charges.

Waveney Ann Moore can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 892-2283.

Comments
Tampa police: Drunk wrong-way driver caused major crashes on Courtney Campbell Causeway

Tampa police: Drunk wrong-way driver caused major crashes on Courtney Campbell Causeway

TAMPA — Police arrested a 26-year-old man they say drove the wrong way while drunk and caused a multi-vehicle crash Friday on the Courtney Campbell Causeway.Collin John Cole faces two counts of driving under the influence causing serious bodily injur...
Updated: 14 minutes ago

AC/DC founding member Malcolm Young dead at 64

NEW YORK (AP) — Malcolm Young, the rhythm guitarist and guiding force behind the Australian hard rock band AC/DC, has died. He was 64. AC/DC announced the death on their official Facebook page and website Saturday. The posts did not say when or where...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Cannon Fodder podcast: Bucs-Dolphins preview

Cannon Fodder podcast: Bucs-Dolphins preview

Greg Auman has a final preview of Sunday’s Bucs-Dolphins game in Miami in his latest Cannon Fodder podcast.He talks about key matchups to watch for, from perhaps the NFL’s best slot receiver in Jarvis Landry, to Miami’s vulnerabilities at right tackl...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Fennelly: If this is true, Jameis Winston is done in this town

Fennelly: If this is true, Jameis Winston is done in this town

TAMPA — Why should we believe this man?Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston is being investigated by the NFL concerning an allegation of him groping a female Uber driver in Scottsdale, Ariz., in March 2016.Winston denied the allegations Friday in a statem...
Updated: 22 minutes ago
Romano: Hunting for a deadly needle in the Seminole Heights haystack

Romano: Hunting for a deadly needle in the Seminole Heights haystack

During the day, you hear from the psychics and the kooks. The well-intentioned tipsters, and the unsolicited profilers. This is all part of serial killer spillover, a sort of cottage industry of macabre.It gets tougher at night when you’re hounded by...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Possible wrong-way crash on Courtney Campbell Causeway late Friday

TAMPA — A multi-vehicle crash on the Courtney Campbell Causeway late Friday may have been caused by a driver traveling in the wrong direction, Tampa police said.The crash occurred in the eastbound lanes closer to the Tampa side of the causeway, near ...
Updated: 11 hours ago

Region football: Clearwater Central Catholic 37, Calvary Christian 10

CLEARWATER — The ice bath ensued for Clearwater Central Catholic coach Chris Harvey after the Marauders’ 37-10 victory over Calvary Christian in Friday’s Class 3A region final. The win placed the Marauders (11-0) in their fifth state tournament since...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Tampa police investigate drive-by shooting in Seminole Heights

Tampa police investigate drive-by shooting in Seminole Heights

TAMPA — Police took one person into custody late Friday after a drive-by shooting ended in Seminole Heights.The incident, which unfolded about 11 p.m., did not appear to be related to the spate of other recent shootings in Seminole Heights that have ...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Region football: Plant 22, Viera 18

Region football: Plant 22, Viera 18

MELBOURNE — With 1 yard separating Plant from an incredible come-from-behind victory, or a devastating defeat, it all came down to a matter of trust.And for Panthers coach Robert Weiner, there was no one he would put more faith in to get that 1 yard ...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Region football: Armwood 22, Hillsborough 0

Region football: Armwood 22, Hillsborough 0

SEFFNER — Hillsborough conquered one nemesis with last week’s win over Class 6A defending state finalist Lake Gibson, the team that knocked the Terriers out of the playoffs in the first round a year ago.But there was an even bigger stumbling block to...
Updated: 12 hours ago